ULU KA ʻŌHIʻA
Experience kinship with nature through hula
Hula is the profound dance of environmental kinship. I invite you into the sacred exchange with the tree people, the microorganisms of our sacred dirt, the volcano people, the cloud people, and the mountain people. The very elements that we dance and chant about are also in us!
Ulu Ka ʻŌhiʻa intentionally nurtures informed hula practitioners by connecting our hula practice to the ecology of our spaces. Ulu Ka ‘Ōhi‘a is a hula experience that unveils many layers of the hula process.
Kuahu initiates deepening connection to our natural world through the recognition and ritualization of the traits, behaviors and functions of our plant people.
The dressing ritual reminds us of the divinities, the energy of the very elements in our mele hula who we "call into" our space, our minds, our hearts, and our very cells. Kākua the pāʻū, ʻaʻahu the kīhei, hoa all 4-kūpeʻe, and lei our lei; these ʻaʻahu remind us that we are vessels for the health of our hula universe.
Who indeed is the very foundation of these islands who birthed hula? It is the pele, the magma, the heat, the rock, the gas, the sulfuric mineral, the smoke, the steam, the very element of honua (earth). When we dance, we are not dancing "about" the element, we become the element upon and in which water collects, clouds form, and life grows.
Mele/Oli/Hula & Hoʻopaʻa
Mele is the text, the poetic documentation of the millennium of observations of the natural cycles in these islands; oli is the sonic vibrations that distributes the message of the mele; hula is the embodiment of our earth family; and, hoʻopaʻa to memorize or make secure, hula is all of these.
A kinolau for Laka, to flash as lightening, the dancer, these are all ʻōlapa. Hula ʻōlapa are largely made up of hula noho, hula ʻiliʻili, hula ʻulīʻulī, hula kā lāʻau, hula maʻi, hula aliʻi...a great many genre and variety indeed.
Hula links the kanaka (human) to nature, bridges nations, binds people to their mountains, unites different cultures, and connects us to our dream, our imagination; hula saved our nation; hula should not divide communities, rather hula brings us together. Hula is indeed the heartbeat of Hawaiʻi.
Hula ecology is the primary way we live-into our relationship to the world; our main entry point is dance or hula and oli or chant; and what is hula but the total embodiment of our universe. If we never forget that we are in every star, every sea shell and every flower, we shall never forget that the health of our hula is reflected in and dependent on the quality of our relationship with our relatives in nature.
Ulu Ka ʻŌhiʻa Courses
Ulu Ka ‘Ōhi‘a is a hula experience that unveils many layers of the hula process. Each papa (or course) offers new practices and insights to deepen your hula consciousness.
Papa 1 through Papa 4 will focus on different genre of hula in order to provide learners with a well-rounded foundation. In each papa, we will be teaching between 4-6 hula or dances and 2-3 additional protocol chants depending on the progress of each cohort.
See single adult registration options below. Contact [email protected] for any other registration options. We have special offers for keiki/children, kūpuna/seniors, Hālau Hula, groups (5+), etc.)
Beginner Pele Dances
Prior to unlocking the hula pieces, all learners move through the ritual & ceremony of kuahu. That includes an entry, dressing, and kuahu building chants. As a hula practice that specializes in hula aihaʻa, our learner start with the basics of footwork through our “beginner” Pele set of dances. We begin with these hula because they ease the learnerʻs body into this style of hula aihaʻa and because our very first hula dedication is to the FIRST HULA DANCERS…the earth!
All levels and experiences welcome.
Beginner ʻŌlapa Dances
Here we will take what we learned in Papa 1 and build upon that solid foundation. In this papa, we will teach even more footwork and groundwork as the hula will require more advanced steps. Once our advanced footwork is established, we will begin teaching the ʻōlapa set of dances.
Intermediate Pele Dances
In this class, we take the foundational footwork and stamina you gained through Papa 1 and Papa 2 and apply it to these more “advanced” hula.
Intermediate ʻŌlapa Dances
This is the final level of our four foundational papa. Here we focus on perfecting the hula learned in Papa 1-Papa 3 while also learning the final set of ʻŌlapa dances. This class is also structured so that learners who went through all four levels are more than prepared to dive into the rest of the hula opportunities Ulu Ka ʻŌhiʻa has to offer.
How We Engage
As a Community
The structure of these courses is based on the a Hālau format, in which "hā lau" (many breaths) or may people and perspectives is integral to the learning process. Thus, we open these courses to cohorts of new learners, who will move through the lessons and levels together.
Our courses are offered in a 100% online format. Video content and other resources are uploaded regularly to our member site to help pace our learners' progress.
Each level of Hālau ʻŌhiʻa Iākea is a 3-month commitment. Lessons are released as the cohort moves through the material and learning is largely self-directed.
While learning is self-directed, the pace of learning is based on the cohorts's overall progress. Learners will have the opportunity to connect with both Kekuhi and other learnerʻs in their cohort with regular online meetings (via Zoom).
Here are some of the most common questions we get from folks!
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